A Guide To Skagway Alaska: The Best Cruise Excursions And More

Everyone should travel to Alaska at least once in their lifetime!

I dreamed of going there since I was in junior high school and for the longest time, seeing the northern lights has been at the top of my bucket list

I am so grateful for the opportunity to realize several long time dreams on this adventure and I would like to share them with you. 

These are some ideas of things to see on your cruise stop or vacation to Skagway.


One of my favorite experiences in Alaska was the day I went to Davidson Glacier! 

You can schedule this activity with Alaska Excursions.

Around noon I found myself at the Port of Skagway boarding a boat designed to give passengers a fine glimpse of one of the deepest fjords in North America. 

At Glacier Point Beach an old school bus was waiting to take us to base camp were we donned life vests and traded our shoes for rubber boots.

From there we trekked through part of the largest temperate rain-forest in the world! Seeing all the vivid green trees and moss growing on nearly every surface reminded me of my husband who loves the woods.

Soon we found ourselves clambering into 30-foot canoes and gliding up the smooth delta toward the rocky moraine. All the while, my excitement was reaching bursting point. 

The walk from the shore to the glacier took longer than it looked and I loved every minute of it. 

Due to the shorter, cooler days, the glacial run-off was slowing down which allowed us to get up close and personal with this immense heap of ancient ice! 

The autumn afternoon shadows fell on the glacier resting between verdant mountains, making the ice practically glow a vibrant blue! 

Blue sky! Majestic blue ice! I was in heaven. 

I could have just sat there and gaped at it all for hours.

A guide picked out a lump of crystal clear ice from the chilly water and handed me a piece to eat. It was the most refreshing and oldest ice I had ever tasted. 

We also got to see and hear some ice break off the mass of the glacier and crash into the water below! 

And recently, a large chunk had broken away and slid down where we could touch it.

The best was yet to come during the canoe ride back! The mountain shadows had fallen over the shallow waters of the delta and a magic fog began to rise. The tawny colored trees on the shore dazzled my eyes, but it wasn't long before they were obscured by the mist; I couldn't even see the other canoes nearby! 

But when I looked over my shoulder I saw golden sunlight streaming down the canyon. The glacier was still covered in shadow and continued to gleam blue, but the mist on the lake caught the light and held it there. And to the east, the surface of the water was so clear it reflected the horizon flawlessly. 

The blue expanse of the sky, the mountains in the distance, and the yellow foliage were all mirrored on the delta. The guide on our canoe who had worked there for two seasons said he had never seen the water so serene or such gorgeous fog there.  

It's a scene I will never forget and one I wish could be shared with everyone I come in contact with. If only I could transfer the memory directly to someone else's brain! 


This was a very special experience for me because for nearly five years I longed to go on these exact zip-lines at Grizzly Falls. I went early in the morning to join my best friend, Clarissa, and her coworker, Morgan on a series of eleven zip-lines that zigzag through rain forest and over waterfalls! 

I had never been anywhere so green! The morning was refreshing, the adrenaline was pumping, and I was having the time of my life. 

All the lines have names like Big Kahuna, Little Kahuna, Pineapple. The one dubbed Alaska Pipeline is the longest of their zip-lines, spanning 750 feet. I went tandem with Clarissa on it and, when we were close enough to each other, she would push me with her feet so I would zoom even faster. 

She and Morgan taught me how to do tricks like front flips and riding the line upside down.  On Big Kahuna, they demonstrated the '"fireball." The key is to do a sideways front flip off the platform and tuck in your knees so that you keep spinning down the line. That was my favorite trick to do! 

On one of several lines that take you soaring over a waterfall, Morgan instructed me to lean forward and permit gravity to flip my body upside down as I zipped along. The goal is to avoid grabbing the rope that connect my harness to the line. With no desire to chicken-out I spread my arms wide to avoid temptation and when I flipped over I let out a nervous-excited squeal.

 Let me tell you, it was AWESOME! For someone who dreamed of this very particular expedition for years, I was certainly not disappointed!


If you you hitch a ride on an ocean raft tour at the right time of year, (June through August) you are likely to see whales! Sadly by September, they had almost all gone far south but whale watching would only have been half the fun! 

Before we rolled onto the big raft, we dressed in big orange suits that doubled as a full-body coat and life jacket. I felt super cool in my suit, like a cozy astronaut. The unique shock-absorbing seats on our raft had to be straddled and there was a nice little handle in front for you to hold onto. Already, I could tell this boat ride would be an absolute thrill. 

We got to sit right up front which gave us a slightly bumpy ride as well as an adrenaline rush when the captain steered us right at a cliff going at a break-neck speed! At the last second he would whip us around which left us squealing with joy. He seemed to like our enthusiasm because he did this a lot throughout the tour. When we thanked him afterward for all the fun he assured us it was all for his enjoyment. 

As we raced along the steep walls of the longest fjord in North America, our guide pointed out tons of wildlife. We saw lounging harbor seals who gazed curiously back at us. We gaped at nearly a dozen bald eagles of various ages. We even spotted a large white mountain goat who stood stock still as though he believed we could not see him if he remained motionless. 

We lingered at waterfalls, one of which stretched a thousand feet up the cliffs! Our amazing guide was so knowledgeable about the fjord, its history, and the wildlife there. She had an answer to every possible question I could think of. 

By the time we were shedding our cozy spacesuits, Clarissa and I could not stop exclaiming how great it had been. It was so great to share yet another thrill with my long time best friend. This is a story I will be sharing with my grandchildren many years from now! And what an adventure it was!


This was by far the most spectacular sight I have ever seen!

Though Skagway is far enough north to see the aurora borealis, it is not the most ideal location thanks to the Seattle-like climate. Skagway is beautiful and I love the typically overcast, cool weather. But not long after my arrival I realized that if I was going to see the aurora borealis I would need to find clearer skies. I kept an eye on the aurora forecast and on a day when activity was high, we took a road trip to Whitehorse, Canada!

Wow! Just the drive there was breathtaking! We drove through Whitepass alongside dozens of jewel blue lakes! Fall was creeping in with ombre shades of yellow foliage and splashes of red. We made a stop at Emerald Lake which in itself was worth the trip.

After a few hours in Whitehorse, eating sushi and soaking in hot springs, we headed back to the US at twilight.

It was then, driving along the highway that the northern lights gradually appeared above us! The brighter they got the more I giggled. I could hardly believe it! A wonderful sight that I had long dreamed of was glowing right above my head! It looked like green rivers of light flowing across the sky, like luminous watercolor in the night!

Like I said, this has been my dream for years and I am so thrilled that it has finally become a reality. My next goal is to see the aurora with my husband.

The best times to see the northern lights are March-April and September-October because those are the seasons when the earth's magnetic field is more directly hit by solar radiation. The next most promising year to chase the aurora anywhere in the northern hemisphere will be 2024.

To increase your chances, regularly check the aurora forecast before and during your trip so you can plan ahead. Also, keep yourself informed on the weather forecast. If skies are unlikely to be clear during your stay in Skagway you can rent a car and go to the aurora yourself. I promise, it is worth the drive. 

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This is the only place in the small town of Skagway that you can get traditional Thai food. I love spice so my favorite dish here was the pad ped!

The Station

This place has such great food for every meal! They serve Alaskan Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon! And they're traditional fish and chips are fantastic!

Skagway Brewing Company 

If you like pub food this is the place for you. They serve everything from great burgers to wings, and fish & chips to salmon sandwiches!


After my zipline tour I had some time to cuddle with some of the most adorable puppies! This opportunity is part of the dog sled tour offered by Alaska Excursions. After being pulled by a team of Alaskan huskies, you will get to hold and cuddle some pups. This enables them to socialize as preparation for their training later in life.


Unfortunately I didn't have time to go on any hikes. Still, I was given several recommendations by locals. The Chilkoot Trail is said to be especially memorable. And if you have the time and want to see a glacier without burning a hole in your pocket, you can hike to either Denver Glacier, or Laughton Glacier. These are both all day hikes. You can check out other trails here such as Devil's Punch Bowl and Smuggler's Cove.


Getting to Skagway requires flying into Juneau and from there you can either ride the ferry to Skagway, which takes several hours, or you can go with the more expensive option of flying in a bush plane. Traveling by small plane through mountains and fickle weather is dangerous, but gets you from Juneau to Skagway in 45 minutes or less. Besides that, the flight is gorgeous! 

At the end of my vacation, just before take off from Skagway, the pilot asked us if we wanted to go the more scenic route over the mountains in lieu of the ordinary flight over the ocean. I was a little nervous even though I had flown in from Juneau and I couldn't imagine anything more breathtaking than what I saw on my way up, but another passenger called out saying she wanted to take the scenic route. And I am so glad we did.

From high above, you can see the silt from glacier run off spilling into the deep blue ocean and churning it into a jade green. And how I loved looking down on a seemingly endless evergreen forest. Miles and miles of deep green with the occasional spark of gold foliage sprawled beneath us as our plane climbed higher up the thundering mountains. Then, so suddenly, we were above the treeline. To the west was the ocean, clear as the sky, and to the east the mountains shot up in jagged spires of stone and silvery ice that stretched farther than the eye could see, undulating like sharp, frozen waves.

All around us blue and white glaciers relaxed in shallow valleys where they slowly melted into waterfalls which then gathered into lakes, some of them silty, some of them clear as deep blue-green jewels that sparkled in the sunlight. Suddenly we came level with a jaw-dropping lake. It caught the melting blue of its glacier and held it there like a basin. The water was so still, reflected so perfectly the ice and sky! Wow! 

I love moments like these where I feel so small and so humbled by the wonders of nature. All my problems seem to melt away. I wasn't even afraid of crashing into a mountain anymore. 

As I said, everyone should go to Alaska. Everyone deserves to see the grandeur of the last frontier and I feel so blessed to finally realize so great a dream. 

What would you like to see and do in Alaska?

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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